I once had to follow a speech by the famous sexologist Doctor Ruth.
I was in her audience because I didn’t want to miss her talk and thus was late to my own speech, as it would take place in a smaller venue a short jog away.
Do not follow Dr. Ruth. She’s hilarious, and she’s talking about the No. 2 fascination of the species (after Internet cat videos).
Also, don’t arrive at your own speech late and out of breath.
I began my speech with more than the usual number of disfluencies—what are commonly known as verbal slips. I was “umming” and “ahhing” through the opening of my speech when a nice Southern woman sitting in the front row raised her hand.
I almost didn’t call on her, because I was only 45 seconds into my speech, but I thought I might be able to catch my breath a bit better, so I said, “Yes?”
She said, “So, ya’ll call yourself an expert on public speaking, right?”
I knew this was not headed in a good direction, but what could I do? She had me. If I said no, then why was I giving a presentation on public speaking? If I said yes, well, here’s what happened.